Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Phansad WLS - Summer Retreat Camp (15th to 17th May'09)

Bookings for the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary 'Summer Retreat Camp" from 15th to 17th May 2009 are on..for details see at the end.

Summer is at its peak in May. Normally we think, this not a good period for watching Avifauna. But that’s not true. Don’t believe? Then come an explore the wonders of Bird watching and visit the “heaven for reptiles and insects”.......

Nature India organizes a "Summer Retreat Camp" to Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary from 15th May to 17th May 2009.

During summer, most of our resident birds are busy with their breeding activities. They are vocal and active. The Nightjar’s are seen at their best during this time, so as the Crested Tree Swifts, Parakeets, Blue-faced Malkoha’s, Honey Buzzard, Black Eagle, Vultures (these have a nesting colony inside the sanctuary), Owls, Orioles, Green Pigeons, Babblers, Pipits, Larks etc to name a few..... It is during this time that Phansad is full of life.

Phansad is a semi-evergreen / mixed deciduous forest that is located approximately 145 Kms from Mumbai (Sion) and about 42 kms from the town of Alibaug. The Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is an amazing revelation. Primarily a bird sanctuary, it is also home to a whole array of insects, amphibians and mammals. Spread across 52.71 sq. km., Phansad is located in the Murud and Roha talukas of Raigad District in Maharashtra.

The gentle hills of this protected area are located between the northern Sahyadri range and the western coast of India. Though these hills are not directly connected to the main Western Ghats range, the species found here are quite similar. The forest is mainly moist teak, southern moist mixed deciduous forest and west coast semi-evergreen. Ain, teak, kinjal, dhavada, jamba, hirda are some of the main species found here. Mango and ficus are found along the stream and the huge pods of the giant Lianas-Entada (rightmost image) are present everywhere. There is also a patch of mangrove vegetation to the southwest. A number of endemic flora and fauna species are found here including the Malabar Giant Squirrel, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-bellied Blue flycatcher etc.

Barking deer, sambar and leopard are also found in this coastal woodland ecosystem. Insect-lovers will enjoy discovering the varied species on offer. Phansad's star attraction is, of course, the beautiful giant Indian squirrel but this arboreal animal is shy and wary and not so easy to discover. If one is really lucky, you can watch one slide down a tree before it slips away into the dense undergrowth. This is definitely a birding paradise with a number of species including the Black Eagle, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Green Imperial & Pompadour Green Pigeon, Yellow Footed Green Pigeon, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, White-rumped Shama (above right), Black Drongo, Shikra, Changable Hawk Eagle, iora, Brown Fish Owl, Jungle Owlet, Plum-headed Parakeet, Common Wood Shrike, Black-hooded Oriole (below right), Paddy field Pipit and Blue-faced Billed Malkoha found here. About 71 butterfly species such as southern birdwing, the tiny pale grass- blue, the large blue mormon, painted lady, spot sword tail and common map can be seen here. An ideal time to observe them is the morning when they bask in the sun.

The rulers of the janjira state had preserved this forest as a hunting reserve. After years of exploitation and degradation, it was declared a sanctuary in 1986. The ruins of the Siddi Nawab's bungalow at Kesauli offers a splendid view of the Kashid beach. A temple of the Dhawir Vardhini who is revered by the Aajri tribals is located inside the reserve. Winter is the best time to visit the park for bird and animal sightings. Explore this sanctuary and take in the fresh earthy smell of the jungle air... enjoy the sight of birds and butterflies and a whole variety of insects and amphibians. Phansad is a wilderness not frequented by too many people and the forest reflects this with its green vistas and varied wildlife that will tempt you to stay back.

Not just birds, but Phansad Wildlife sanctuary is a heaven for insects and reptile enthusiasts. You cannot miss the excellently camouflaging Green vine snake (below right) and the Bamboo Pit vipers (below right) or may even come across the elusive Brown vine snake. The snakes are found is such abundance that it is easy to come across 5-10 snakes in a single trail. Phansad is also famous for the scorpions and Gaint Tarantula spiders..... and the butterfly variety is awesome here. The enigmatic Monkey puzzel butterfly (above left) or an Oakleaf is not uncommon and if you are lucky then you may also get to see the rare Map butterfly.

These are just glimpses of what Phansad has to offer...... This forest is mystical, sometimes casting the spell of eire silence and sometimes with its liveliness. Even the night trails here are vibrant and thrilling...... The experience one takes home is something to cherish for a long time.

Though the Camp will be focused on Bird-watching and to learn more about them, we will also try to look for and learn about insects and reptiles ….

Date: 15th May 2009, morning 6.30 am to 17th May 2009 eve 7.30 pm

Resource person: Mr.Mandar Khadilkar / Mr. Adesh Shivkar

Mode of Travel : By launch upto Alibaug and back, and by six seater autos from Alibaug to Phansad and back.


1) Friday 15th May, 2009 : Depart from Gateway of India by launch at 6.30AM….. brief sea bird watching on the way ..…… Catch Bus from Mandwa to Alibaug…..have breakfast ….. Reach Phansad Wildlife Sactuary in six seater autos…. Small bird watching session at periphery of the park….. Delicious lunch…..Evening bird watching….. Enjoy the home cooked dinner…….Early night a small walk around the park for reptiles and snakes…………

2) Saturday 16th May, 2009: Start early morning at 6.30 am for bird-watching at Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary…….Lunch and nature games...... Visit the Grassland patches and Waterholes (Gunyacha Maal, Chikhalgaan & Phansadgaan) ……Dinner..... Night Trail ..... Camp Fire & Activities

3) Sunday 17th May, 2009: Start early morning at 6.30 am ….visit the Periphery of forests and the “Sacred Groves” for Birdwatching ……Proceed to “Therunda Village” to have a glimpse of a skeleton of “Whale”…….Lunch in Alibaug ….. proceed to Mumbai (Gateway of India) by launch……. Reach Gateway of India by 7.30 pm.

Please note that camp fire's doesn’t essentially mean use of fire.... Nature India discourages the burning of fire-wood in a wooded area..... It is the activities, debates, gossip et al that makes up the essence of a Camp fire :-)

More details on the Itinerary will be given to those who register.....

Very Important Note: The facilities in this camp are extremely basic, with tented accomodation on a sharing basis (5-7 people in one tent) , common toilets (separate for men & women), simple vegetarian food and local public transport where-ever applicable...... this camp also involves considerable walking every is a typical Junglee camp with campfires and games et al:-))

Trip Charges : Rs.2700/- (This includes stay in basic tents on sharing basis, simple home cooked veg. food, breakfast, tea, public transport by launch and 6 seater autos, entry fees, guide charges, Articles on the places to be visited & on board snacks and water……)

This does not include any charges other than the above.

Stay Arrangement: In forest department tents. 5 persons in one tent with separate, clean toilets for Men and Women.

Food : Home cooked vegetarian food will be served.

Transport : Local Public transport

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmatory mail to and by paying a non refundable full advance of Rs.2700/-…..

Mode of Payment: You can either...

1) Transfer the advance money directly to HDFC A/c : (please call for the A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….

2) Courier a cheque of Rs.2700/- to my address
Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar
Address: B/702, Neha Apartments, Ashish Complex, Chh. Shivaji Cross Road, No.4, Dahisar - East, Mumbai - 400068
Ph.: 9967518665

Please Note:
1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 2700/- is strictly non-refundable
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
3) Participants are required to bring their own sleeping bags / matts / bedding
4) No hot water facility will be available
50 A torch and water bottle is compulsary

Please contact, in case you need any clarification …..

For any other queries, please contact:-
Adesh Shivkar – 9820455713 / 9321463362
Mandar Khadilkar - 9967518665
Or Email:

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip !!

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,
Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Care for Nature


Madhukar Dhuri said...

Madhukar Dhuri said...

Some more photos of phansad